By Zolan Kanno-Youngs
Sophomore Zach Stahl’s career highs in both points (16) and rebounds (8) weren’t enough to stop the rapid Terriers in Northeastern’s opening day loss in the Coaches vs. Cancer classic at the T.D. Garden on Sunday afternoon.
“It just seems each and every year this game comes down to the last possession,” coach Bill Coen said of the 72-69 loss. “I thought we played a great second half which put ourselves in a position to win the game but unfortunately I thought we mishandled the last couple minutes of the game.”
Following Stahl in the points category was red-shirt junior Scott Eatherton who had 15 points and 10 rebounds in his first ever game in a Husky uniform. Junior Quincy Ford also added 10 points.
Senior point guard Maurice Watson led the Terriers with 16 points to go along with 5 assists and 4 rebounds. Sophomore John Papale had 13 points on the game, followed by senior Dom Morris who had 12 points and 4 rebounds.
After overcoming a 6-point halftime deficit, the Huskies had a 5-point lead over BU with 2:22 left in the game. The slim lead was cut after Papale nailed a wide-open 3-pointer at the top of the 3-point arc as a result of a hard screen.
After missing a jumper on the very next possession, Ford fouled Papale in the left corner of the arc, sending the forward to the line for three. The sophomore converted on all the shots to give BU a 68-67 lead.
With under a minute on the clock and with a one-on-one match-up with sophomore point guard David Walker, Watson Jr. crossed over left to right and converted on an acrobatic layup to put BU up by three. Watson Jr., and fellow guard D.J. Irving, caused havoc for Northeastern throughout the game by pushing the offensive tempo.
“Those guards are so quick. They reek a lot of havoc so we would obviously like that to be better,” Coen said.
Down by three, Stahl earned a trip to the line with a hard drive to the basket. The sophomore converted on both, as opposed to Irving who missed a free throw on the Terriers’ next possession.
Following a timeout by Coen, the Huskies once again had the chance for a late game winner with 3.5 seconds on the clock and Walker inbounding from the baseline. However, the long arms of Malik Thomas stole the pass intended for a cutting Stahl.
“Those things happen and we’ve been on the other end of those plays,” Coen said.
The coach remained optimistic even after the game’s outcome. He noted Eatherton’s play, Stahl’s versatility and the poise shown from freshman point guard T.J. Williams all as being positives taken from the game.
“This is a snapshot where this team is right now and I think at the end of the day it could be a really, really good team,” Coen said. “We lost to a very good team today in an exciting environment but I’m thinking long term of where we can be in March.”
This article can also be found in The Huntington News.